RSI Awareness Day
Claire Rennie (first published in Statnews, May 2008).
Twelve STAT teachers came
together to support the 2008 RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
Conference and Awareness Day held at Friends Meeting House,
London on Saturday 1st March.
There was a full programme of
presentations and a busy exhibition area where STAT had a
large stand with sufficient teachers on hand to provide
information, answer queries and provide one-to-one taster
Conference presenters included:
Suparna Damany -visiting
from USA to present on RSI -From Partial Recovery to
Dr Michael Hutson -who
spoke regarding RSI diagnosis and urged clinicians that
"if they wanted to find the Holy Grail (i.e. understand
diffuse RSI), they needed to take off their helmets,
open their eyes and broaden their minds!"
Ann Thomson -Director of
the RSI & Overuse Injury Association in Australia
presenting on RSI in Australia: Myth or Reality.
BP and SmithKline Glaxo -explaining how they are investing in protecting their
workforce from musculo-skeletal disorders.
Alongside STAT in the exhibition
area were physiotherapists, Bowen technique practitioners,
suppliers of ergonomic furniture, computer equipment and
voice recognition software, Waterstone's booksellers, and
professionals offering legal and welfare advice.
The feedback from those who
attended the Alexander Technique stand was very positive.
Analysis of the data that we recorded reveals that delegates
crossed all age groups and professions, reflecting the
susceptibility of people to RSI in our modern work
environments. Professional groups represented included:
Legal adviser, solicitor,
IT business analyst, CAD
(Computer Aided Design) technician, computer programmer,
Undergraduate and PhD
Project manager, retail and
Health & safety assessor,
The day was positive not only
for the delegates but also for the teachers who took part,
some of whom have commented below:
"I came down to the RSI day
to see what was going on in the RSI world and to meet
other teachers who were working with RSI. I found the
day very informative and useful. The lectures I went to
were the Australian RSI lecture and the lady who had
made a good recovery from RSI and is now a Pilates
teacher. Both were interesting, especially as the
Pilates lady did mention the Alexander Technique and
"I enjoyed talking to and
demonstrating the Technique for people who came to the
stand. The first person I spoke to couldn't write
without a lot of discomfort, so I filled in most of the
information form for her and she signed it. Her
signature was so much darker than my writing that it was
the perfect way to start talking about the Alexander
principles. She could see that she had used a lot of
pressure and effort to sign her name and how that might
relate to her problem. She enjoyed her turn and went
away intending to find a teacher."
"What struck me forcibly was
how broad and variable a set of disorders is being
referred to as RSI (or 'musculo-skeletal disorders of
the upper and lower limbs', as the literature described
it). Until I read the conference pack, I had no idea. I
was also shocked by just how long some people had been
living with it."
"I enjoyed the two hours I
was there. I volunteered because I did a study on RSI
some years ago and have had students with RSI. So I am
interested to find out new things about it and also to
offer my experience. I visited the Bowen Technique stall
and had a session which was interesting. And the stall
opposite had some interesting ergonomic keyboards."
In conclusion, the support that
STAT and the individual Alexander teachers gave at the RSI
Conference and Awareness Day was beneficial for all
concerned. It opened our eyes both to the experiences of RSI
sufferers and to the different approaches and practitioners
endeavouring to address it. Finally, it gave the opportunity
for us, as Alexander teachers, to work together and express
the part that the Technique can play in RSI prevention and
recovery. Thank you to all teachers who took part.
© Claire Rennie & contributors